Don’t get me wrong; I love weddings. In fact, you’ll find me walking around with my tag of ‘Hire-A-Bridesmaid-Here’ most of the time. I often befriend bubbly and ‘brimming-with-blushes’ brides-to-be, if only to taste a sip of the heady onrush of the excited anticipation of the D-day!! Works as well as downing all of that champagne, believe me!! There’s something extremely cheery about spending hours working on invitations, picking out exquisite bridal wear (because let’s admit it – all brides have dreamt of haute couture bridal designers the whole time), customizing that perfect three-tiered cake, and of course, ordering truckloads of lilies and orchids!! It is an experience that transcends the boundaries of the mundane and becomes, in a surreal way, otherworldly.
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My problem, though, is with the ‘happy’ loss of realism in this brouhaha-packed process. Most couples, and women especially, tend to go full-throttle on the ‘magical high’ of the celebration of their union, without as much as a thought about what lies beyond the altar. They have always wanted to be the bride, they have always wanted the wine and the cake and the flowers, they have longed to call their boyfriend ‘husband,’ and dance that ‘first dance’ as husband and wife. Now, when they are getting it, they’d stop at nothing. They wouldn’t allow anything to take away from their happiness. But, does being in love mean they were ready for being married?? I know, watching the other girlfriends get married wasn’t helping the ‘urge.’ But is that a reason to be legally and emotionally bound to someone through the institution of marriage??
Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License
A marriage is not the same thing as a wedding. It isn’t wise to rush to the altar because, hey, he popped the big question by going down on one knee and ohh, it was a biggg solitaire that you just couldn’t wait to show off to your girls! One needs to think of what lies ahead, once the wedding celebrations ebb and perhaps, the honeymoon is over too. Because, unlike weddings and let’s throw in honeymoons too, marriage isn’t about flowers, gorgeous gowns, expensive entrées, and fancy presents or even the night of nine times and sipping pina colada on beaches at sunset. Marriage is hard work – real, hands-in-the-dirt labor.
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Think of it – what would you do when you find yourself in uncharted waters? What would you do when huge, glaring, and unexpected differences stare you in the face? What will happen when you are shocked by a behavior you never saw coming? How would you deal with the ‘change’ that seems to be seeping into your relationship, one layer at a time? Coz, make no mistake about it – people change and so do relationship dynamics. Our bonds have a way of coming into a life of their own – for better or for worse. And how do you cope with these changes, if you weren’t ready to brave the challenges implicit in marriage?? After all, you were all hyped up about ‘taking’ your partner ‘for better or worse,’ right?
Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License
No, I don’t intend to freak you out. Despite all I have said of the brazen reality of marriages, a marriage can still be one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things ever. I know I have attested to the ‘greys’ that cloud the lovescape in a marriage, but there are plenty of rainbows too. And this is why you have to hold each other’s hands, whilst life metes out those punches, roll with them, and weather all storms. Clear skies will follow. How, you ask?
Here’s how: Don’t just plan the most special day of your life, plan all the days after, too! Yes, plan your marriage equally well. There are only two things you need to translate your wedding vows into a ‘happily-married’ journey, bumps and all.
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1. Love: Love is unconditional; marriage is not. We need to love someone, in an ‘I-would-do-anything-and-everything-for-him/her-without-exceptions’ kind of way to be able to take the next big step. One does not need to marry to love someone. And yet, love is a necessary ingredient for a successful marriage. The ability to affirm love in the bond must be ever-present. And despite all they say, it takes more than love to love a person completely, faults and all. Walk down the aisle only when you know, in your heart, that of all the futures you could have, there isn’t a single one you can imagine without your partner. Only then say ‘I do.’ This, then, brings me to my next contention.
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2. Commitment: Opening yourself up to the possibility of love and loving someone is not the same as keeping the love alive. The possibility of loving opens you to the world of expectations. Just remember to extend the same before expecting it. It entails making a commitment to keeping the love alive, striving to maintain the romantic spark, and believing in the relationship. Romance needs to be fed more regularly than snakes, and every now and then just doesn’t make the cut. Remember that making it work requires two strong, committed individuals, who have pledged to build it, nurture it, and sustain it. This, then, involves shoveling the manure and tilling the land as much as enjoying the harvest. And only when you are up for the challenge should you take ‘Garden-of-Eden’ vows! Coz when you are building your own, you’d be the ‘Creator.’
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If your love has stood the test of time (as only the ticking moments can validate your ability and steadfast determination of making it work), then you may be ready for ‘marriage.’ I will, then, without any qualms, enjoy those countless hours of sitting with you, hogging stale macaroons, and downing shitty champagne because hey, invitation construction isn’t a joke. You know why so? Coz you’d not only be getting ready for your wedding, but also for marriage. Bring on the weddings now!!
Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License